| Fizah HAB |
SEVERAL buildings in Bandar Seri Begawan were evacuated yesterday afternoon, following aftershocks from an undersea earthquake measuring 7.3 in magnitude, which struck parts of the southern and central Philippines.
An employee of Dar Takaful IBB Utama in Bandar Seri Begawan told the Bulletin that an evacuation warning was issued at around 2.45pm, when staff members on the upper levels of the Dar Takaful IBB Utama and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) buildings started to experience the resulting tremors from the quake.
A quick evacuation of staff and customers took place, after which they gathered at an assembly point on the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien. Emergency personnel were immediately deployed to the capital, and the buildings were eventually declared safe after a thorough site assessment conducted by the Fire and Rescue Department and the Public Works Department (JKR).
One of the fire marshals at the main Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei (TAIB) branch in Bandar Seri Begawan said that early warnings issued from the neighbouring Royal Brunei Airlines Plaza and BIBD building enabled the evacuation process to take place in such an efficient and orderly manner.
The Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department has confirmed that no tsunami or damage alerts were issued after the earthquake which occurred at 2.14pm yesterday, under the Celebes Sea near the south of Philippines.
The National Disaster Management Centre, meanwhile, reminded members of the public to always stay calm when faced with possible disasters.
In times of emergency, the public should contact the fire department via the 995 hotline, the police via the 993 hotline, and ambulance services via the 991 hotline.